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Peirone’s building new digs

The Peirone Produce building, being built by Vandervert Construction, goes up on the West Plains near the Medical Lake off-ramp. (Jesse Tinsley)
The Peirone Produce building, being built by Vandervert Construction, goes up on the West Plains near the Medical Lake off-ramp. (Jesse Tinsley)

70,000-foot warehouse going up on West Plains

By next spring, Peirone Produce Co. food handlers will be sorting eggs, lettuce and other food items at a new, 70,000-square-foot warehouse and operations center on the West Plains.

Pronounced “Pear-own” and not “pier-oni,” the company is one of the largest food distributors in the area. Its workers deliver food products in Eastern Washington, North Idaho, Western Montana and northeast Oregon. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of wholesaler URM Stores Inc., based in Spokane.

Ground preparation started this summer at the 9-acre site at 9818 W. Hallett Road, just east of the Medical Lake interchange. Vandervert Construction is handling the project, estimated at about $10 million.

Company President and CEO Pat Davidson said the new building will be occupied next month, with another three months needed to install coolers and other utilities.

“We should be operating in there about March,” he said.

The company has roughly 100 employees; 60 will work at the warehouse, the others are drivers.

The new building replaces Peirone’s dated warehouse on the east edge of downtown, at 524 E. Trent. Once Peirone leaves that building, which has about 28,000 square feet of space, its owner – Washington State University – gets to decide whether to raze it or renovate for another tenant.

The West Plains facility is designed more efficiently than Peirone’s present food warehouse, Davidson said.

Whitworth breaks ground on science building

Whitworth University in Spokane is starting construction on a $32 million biology/chemistry building on the north end of campus, just west of the Eric Johnston Science Center.

Set to open in late summer or early fall 2011, the building will be the most expensive in the history of the private liberal arts university.

The science center is the first phase of a $53 million project to revamp the university’s science facilities in response to growing demand. Science majors there now number 632, up from 420 a decade ago.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new project was held Thursday.

The three-story, 63,000-square-foot structure mainly will house Whitworth’s biology and chemistry departments. It will have state-of-the-art laboratories and instrumentation, animal-research facilities, and classrooms that can be converted to labs to meet science and classroom needs for the next 20 years.

Plans call for a $16 million second phase of the project, including a 16,000-square-foot addition to the north end of the Johnston center.

The green design of the new biology/chemistry building features a skylight that will flood the building with natural light; rainwater collection for landscape irrigation; steam or geothermal heating; energy-efficient air-handling; and use of locally produced building materials.

Spokane-based Bouten Construction Co. is the contractor. The building was designed by Seattle-based Miller Hull Partnership LLP.

Whitworth is paying for the project through a combination of donations, government funds and a bond issue.

Kootenai Cancer occupies new Post Falls building

Kootenai Cancer Center is seeing patients in a new, 21,000-square-foot building in Post Falls.

Cancer services previously offered at the Kootenai Health Park have moved to the new center, at 1440 E. Mullan Ave.

Kootenai also has cancer centers in Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint. It sees about 50,000 cancer patients a year.

The new facility represents a $15 million investment in Post Falls, Kootenai Health said.

Architects Rann Haight and Roy Marshall, both of Coeur d’Alene, designed the structure.

Drs. Haluk Tezcan and Brian Samuels, both medical oncologists; Dr. Karie-Lynn Kelly, a radiation oncologist; and nurse-practitioner Sue Herbst are based in the Post Falls center.

Additionally, Kootenai’s Cancer Research Program, a laboratory and a pharmacy are housed in the two-story building.

A therapy program that includes massage, yoga, acupuncture, strength training and skin therapy will be added to the Post Falls operation in 2010.

Polka Dot opens third location

Kimberly Geiger’s growing paint-your-own pottery business, Polka Dot Pottery, recently opened its third shop, inside downtown Spokane’s River Park Square.

Geiger’s other two pottery shops are in Spokane Valley and in northwest Spokane. The downtown Spokane shop, on the mall’s second level, has seating for 70.

Geiger will set aside about 300 square feet of space to sell her own pottery. The rest of the shop, where people can paint items or take pottery-making classes, takes about 1,500 square feet of space.

For information call (509) 624-2264.

Deputy City Editor Scott Maben contributed to this report. Here’s the Dirt is a weekly report on new developments and business openings, closings or movement in the Inland Northwest. E-mail or call (509) 459-5528.

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